Dear Carolyn:

When my husband was in high school (he is 25 now) he fooled around with his brother's wife. She and his brother were not yet married, and I was told his brother was away at college. Don't know for sure how serious they were then, etc. Anyway, now she and the brother have been married seven years and have three kids. I feel so uncomfortable around her knowing that once upon a time she made out with my husband. I had completely let go of it, but that was when I thought the brother knew what had happened. What do I do?

-- Needing a Lot of Help

Remind yourself how it felt to let go of it completely, and feel that way again.

That your sister-in-law disloyally sucked face with her possibly not serious long-distance boyfriend's brother nearly a decade ago is hardly a moral triumph, but it's also not the kind of thing that would normally keep you up at night, is it? It can't be -- it's ancient, fumbling, late-adolescent history that didn't involve you then, doesn't involve you now and apparently solved itself.

As it happens, you've since come to know all parties involved, but, awkwardness aside, that doesn't change anything -- unless you now question your husband's trustworthiness, in which case you must talk to him. Otherwise, dragged into present-day context, the whole situation is toxic; left in its proper school-age context, it's just a sad old story that needn't be retold.


This month I've watched three friends get engaged and had two others discover they are pregnant. Every time, my friends start the "Oh, I'm sure you'll be next" song. Up until now, I've been able to pretty much laugh them off. I'm in a good relationship of two-plus years; I'm 28, he's 26, serious, but no cohabitating.

Well, yesterday, a friend with whom I'd shared my non-engagement jokes finally got the bended knee.

I'm thrilled for her, but I'm baffled by my overwhelming sadness and (ugh) pity for myself. I feel so stupid about how upset I am. My friend calls me every hour with some new marriage tidbit; how petty would I sound if I told her I didn't want to talk about her wedding because I'm seething with jealousy?

-- O.G.

Extremely. Confessing your jealousy is fine -- talking about it might help. It's the wedding-news blackout that would make you seem pretty lame.

Two reasons. She's your friend, and that means you come through for her full time, not just when she's conveniently as miserable as you are.

And, it's time you came through for you. You'll hardly feel better by plugging your ears and saying NAH-NAH-NAH whenever you hear the "M" word -- or by finding lonelier friends or by getting your own (barf) "bended knee." Jealousy of others is never about what they have. It's about what you lack: peace with yourself. Not everyone passes a mansion and says, "Wow, I wish I lived there" -- not the ones who are content with the place they call home.

So, other than being assaulted by the "Oh, I'm sure you'll be next" song, which can make a person nostalgic for "La Macarena," what is it about your life that isn't enough? That's what you need to find out.

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